Investors, Please note that the Legacy Platform of Patch of Land Inc, completed an asset sale on July 27th of 2021. All remaining crowd assets, loans and investments are being actively managed in an effort to wind down the platform, with an expected cessation of business activities by the end of the year 2022. Due to limited remaining resources, property updates may not be available and are being made upon request. For information regarding any remaining portfolio or for any questions or concerns, please contact [email protected]

The Patch of Land Blog

Learn about all the latest happenings.

1000 Acres, Unused in 50 Years Spears Community Revitalization

“The area can be transformed from a cheap place to spoil and dump to a game-changing opportunity to bring nearby communities into the outdoors, attract cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts from across the country.” ~ Friends of Big Marsh.

As a child, a neighboring almond orchard is where my dreams unfolded. Running through the trees, listening to the rustling of leaves, and directing squirrel traffic opened my mind to a world without walls. The orchard is long forgotten, and homes line the blocks, where an orchard once stood.

While covering needs of increasing populations, a non-profit organization is making sure that Chicagoans don’t forget how important it is to venture out. They are crowdfunding oxygen, living creatures, room to bike and just flail about: all essential ingredients to creating a life well lived, and a community revitalized. Friends of Big Marsh have spearheaded a community revitalization project spanning 1000 acres. A monstrous task? Not necessarily, depending on the power of the crowd who funds it.

Community Revitalization in an Unlikely Place

Beyond the sky scrapers, great restaurants, and cultural wonders of Chicago, there lies what could become a magical marsh. If the rest of Chicago’s community revitalization efforts are any indication, success is just at the corner. At the Southeast corner to be exact. Inaccessible to the public for 50 years, this huge expanse of land, in Chicago’s southeast side may be repurposed.

What other community, but one of Chicagoans, would make the dense byproduct of old steel mills into an eco-recreation oasis? Maybe this field of slag will inspire the rest of the continent. Big Marsh won't be a golf course hoping to stitch up scars of the past degradation, but a flexible, nature-nurturing public space. City parks, cycling paths, and other eco-recreation are essential for balancing life in a high-fast-paced society.  ~A landscape that re-charges the most weary of beings. “Escape, recharge and come back to meet a new day.”  That is what many strive to do when leaving work for the day. Nurtured acres of usable park will nurture the lives of those who frequent it too. Friends of Big Marsh (FOBM), is a 501c3 non-profit group, with plans to become a crowd. One that could serve to improve Chicago’s economy and expand opportunity in more ways than just fun.

An Anonymous Donor and a Million Dollars

Triples the Bottom Line

community revitalization, real estate crowdfndingAnd how did this once small, passionate group gain the credibility worthy of a crowd? A large, anonymous donation. Yet, a Million Dollar Donation is only just that. ~Until it serves to inspire others to further fund the creation of what grows. One thousand acres! Why shoot for such lofty goals? Because sometimes it takes a grander vision to change the 100 years worth of thinking. As FOBM methodically plan the unfolding of landscape, the anonymous donor has made the first phase conceivable, by inspiring others to donate too. The first five hundred thousand dollars that is contributed by the collective crowdfunding campaign, will be met with one million more! One donor, possibly a community member, inspires others to spend financial effort where the effects will actually to three times.

If the community revitalization crowdfunding campaign is successful, this project will develop in multiple phases, restoring more than un-used space. Phase 1 will include two hundred seventy acres, cleverly designed to draw  together community members, cyclists, and open-space enthusiasts from across the country together. That is why FOBM is aiming not just for an average park, but for a forward-thinking team inspired transformation. Shrouding a 160-foot land-fill, waits an opportunity for community revitalization and the continued re-branding of a city once known for dark alleys and warn buildings.  I am particularly interested to discover what combined ecologic and economic effect we'll see on the resulting real estate values.

Related: From Clunch to Artful Community: Theaster Gates & Chicago

Community Revitalization to the Fullest!

community revitalization, real estate crowdfundingAccording to Friends of Big Marsh, The Chicago Park District is committed to opening part of the land in 2016. But let’s make help make the efforts bear as much fruit as they can. This crowdfunding campaign could mean the difference of opening an ordinary park, and opening landscape of opportunity, to power an entire community. Imagine a glimpse of Phase 1 including:

  • 45-acres: A Family friendly urban bike park, with mountain bike and BMX courses for all ages and skill levels, and a UCI-legal, permanent cyclocross course
  • 4.5 miles of multi-use trails for biking, running, and walking.
  • Ecological reclamation, including the return of native fauna and a functioning, healthy hemi marsh habitat.
  • Wildlife & bird-watching stations.
  • A Tree-top adventure ropes course.
  • Entertainment areas to house festivals, a concessions area and beer garden
community revitalization, real estate crowdfunding click to enlarge

This campaign illustrates the true collective power of a crowd, and an opportunity to re-define Chicago culture to the rest of the nation. Those who give financially, those who lend expertise, and those who provide tangible perks combine efforts in creation of a powerful team. Even from the sidelines, if you aren’t an outdoor enthusiast, you may become one after exposure to the passionate Friends of Big Marsh. Further inspiration, can of course, be achieved by becoming one of them. Get involved, and pass it on. Be proud to be one of the crowd.

Related: Chicago Wolves Founder, Real Estate Rehab & Four-Legged Lives

Would you be encouraged to invest in a project for which a large donor has enough faith to triple the effects of your efforts?



If you want to learn more, take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions we receive about real estate crowdfunding on a daily basis and find out why so many people are crowdfunding real estate projects across the country with Patch of Land.
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